While standing orders remain the most cost-effective way for church members to give regularly, digital giving provides an additional way to receive donations as well as reaching other church supporters. Digital giving can be a quick, convenient and effective way for anyone to support the church.
The stewardship team's webinar below provides more information about digital giving.
For every giving method, it is important to inspire people to give, telling the story of your congregation's work; for example, how it supports the local community and others through its ministry, practical support and loving care.
Whichever option is chosen, a payment processor is necessary to process the donor's payment and transfer the donation to the congregation's bank account. Most providers will have step-by-step guidance on how to set this up. You will be required to complete an application form, supply proof of ID for one or more Congregational Trustees and proof that the bank account into which the funds will be deposited belongs to the congregation (usually a bank statement is sufficient). You may also be required to provide a link to your website or a copy of your annual accounts.
The Church of Scotland does not recommend a particular supplier but offers some information about a few suppliers to help congregations get started. It is imperative that, before making a commitment, the local Congregational Trustees take time to fully consider the costs, terms and conditions, regulatory compliance and whether ongoing customer support is available. The stewardship team is available to provide more detailed advice and support on the best digital giving methods for your congregation.
Contactless giving devices
Contactless devices allow donors to give to the congregation with a simple tap of their card or smart device. Devices are set up with usually three to six different amounts for donors to choose from. These pre-set amounts can usually be changed at any time to suit different circumstances or projects.
A password-protected online portal or dashboard will provide information on all donations and, in some cases, allow customisation of the device. As contactless giving is eligible for the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) the information collected can be used for such a claim. Most providers also enable the secure collection of Gift Aid information which can be downloaded to enable the congregation to make a claim to HMRC in the normal way. Some providers may automatically submit Gift Aid claims on the congregation's behalf.
In most cases the contactless device itself needs to be purchased. A small number of providers offer a leasing service, although this can be more expensive overall. There are usually monthly fees associated with a contactless device and some providers also charge set up and delivery fees. Each transaction incurs a small fee which varies according to the payment processor used by the provider.
Contactless devices can be fixed in prominent locations or be portable, allowing them to be moved to different parts of a building as required. As well as accepting contactless donations, some devices can be used to pay for goods and services at events (such as craft fairs or coffee mornings).
Most devices use a rechargeable battery but can also be plugged into a fixed socket. All contactless devices can connect to the internet through mobile data (4G) and many can also connect through Wi-Fi.
The most appropriate contactless device for a congregation will very much depend on its circumstances, the activities held and the regular footfall. For more information about particular providers and discounts available for Church of Scotland congregations, please email email@example.com.